This document contains information concerning animal transport through public access areas and off campus. For specific requirements regarding transporting rodents to and from campus, please see the Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine (DLAM) Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on Rodent Transport.

Public access areas include corridors, roadways, and other areas outside the centralized animal facilities. All personnel involved in animal care and use must follow this policy to ensure that animal transport is conducted in a safe and appropriate manner. Investigators and their research associates are reminded that all transferring and/or transporting animals between institutions, facilities, investigators, or protocols requires completion of DLAM transfer forms to assure regulatory compliance and to maintain the colony health status. Please contact DLAM (ext. 42571) for detailed information regarding the required forms.

All transportation of animals should be planned to minimize transit time, reduce the risk of zoonoses, avoid the visibility of animals to the public, and protect the animals against physical trauma. Use service elevators when available. This includes the transportation of empty carriers, restraint chairs, transport cages, shoebox cages, etc.

In some cases, it may be preferable to anesthetize animals, such as large animals or animals that may exhibit fractious or unpredictable behavior, prior to transport. The decision to use anesthesia prior to animal transport should be made in consultation with a DLAM veterinarian; if anesthesia will be used during transport, the anesthetic regimen must be described in the approved research protocol.

Animals, whether conscious or anesthetized, must never be left unattended. The investigator is responsible for ensuring that animals are monitored during the entire transit period.

The following guidelines must be used when animals are transported through public areas:

Requirements for Transport Equipment

Species Transport Equipment
cats, dogs, pigs covered large animal transport cage
non-human primates covered primate transport carrier or restraint chair [1]
rabbits covered transport cage
rodents covered transport cage or shoebox cage [2]
sheep filtered transport cage
dead animals opaque durable plastic bag of appropriate size [3]

[1] Special requirements for non-human primate transport equipment:

  • prevent any inadvertent contact (grabbing, reaching, touching) between the animal and personnel;
  • enclosure needs to be constructed strong enough to contain the animals securely;
  • interior must not have any sharp points or edges;
  • provide adequate ventilation by having vents on at least two opposite walls;
  • provide sufficient space to allow the animal to turn around freely in a normal manner or to sit in an upright position without its head touching the top of the enclosure.

[2] Isolation gowns and biohazard bags are NOT ACCEPTABLE for covering rodent cages. If rodents are coming from non-barrier areas, please place cages in an opaque plastic bag or cover with an opaque cloth drape. If rodents are coming from a barrier-maintained area, they MUST be placed into an opaque plastic bag before they are taken from the room in which they are housed.

[3] Use double bags to transport dead animals. If the animals were used in research involving biohazardous materials, follow the disposition procedures recommended by the Office of Environment, Health and Safety (x63929) and/or the Radiation Safety Office (x47365).

Requirements for Transport Vehicles

The following information is designed to provide guidance on transporting animals in botha dedicated and personal vehicles. For a complete list of requirements pertaining to the transport of mice and rats, please see the DLAM SOP on Rodent Transport.

Transporting animals in vehicles not specifically designated for animal transportation (e.g., personal or rented vehicles) is strongly discouraged, but may be acceptable if the vehicle meets the standards listed below. A dedicated vehicle is available through DLAM for on-campus transport. The ARC encourages the use of commercial companies for transportation of animals to or from other institutions. The following general guidelines should be followed when the services of DLAM or a commercial transport company are not used:

  • the cargo space must be constructed and maintained in a manner that protects the health and well-being of the animals, including precluding the entry of exhaust fumes;
  • the animal cargo space must have a supply of air that is sufficient for the normal breathing of all animals; 
    if the air supply to the animal cargo space is shared with the air supply of the operator(s), ensure that a filtered cage/container is used to minimize the transmission of zoonotic agents by aerosol;
  • the ambient temperature of the vehicle must be maintained at the appropriate level for the species being transported (consult with a DLAM veterinarian for more information);
  • it is required to sanitize the transport vehicle after transportation of the animals; if a passenger vehicle is used, place plastic or similar material on the floor under the transport cage to minimize contamination;
  • for transporting large species of animals, a cargo van is preferred provided the transport cages can be adequately secured to prevent movement.


Approved 3/22/04, Revised 2/27/12
Replaces ARC Policy on Animal Transport and Use in Clinical and Public Access Areas 12/00